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  CSPAN    Public Affairs    News  News/Business.  

    November 27, 2012
    10:00 - 12:59pm EST  

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we need those ceos to come back. they have to get their stockholders. they have a responsibility to them for profit, but how much profit is profit? we are destroying our nation. two years ago i was in harvard business school and we talked about the fact that many of the ceos of these companies were going abroad not only because of taxation but because of the cost of labor. host: are all at of time. if you could give us a quick reply. guest: the long-term future of the country will depend on a lot of things. the u.s. is taking a lot of steps right now to right the ship. labor may be one of them. taxation may be one of them. there are some estimates that we can be energy self-sufficient in
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the next 30, 40 years, so maybe that helps. this is a very complex issue. it has to be resolved. there has to be a happy medium there. whether or not it is because these ceos are boring abroad for certain things or not, that is up for debate. i'm certainly not one who will take a position on that because i don't know enough about it to make that call. there are a lot of very smart people out there, who we should respect, they are very good at what they do and they are still debating about what the proper solutions to this is. all right now, this is why we're seeing such a huge amount of debate going on in d.c. and in board rooms across the country. washington, d.c. host: there have been reports that secretary geithner will play a role in these talks.
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guest: the economic team is in place right now. this is obviously a very critical role for the administration and for the american people as a whole. with tim geithner, a lot of people have said he is one of the reasons why things are as shaky as they are right now. others have argued without that kind of leadership, we would still be back in a financial crisis right now. hank paulson, the former ceo of goldman sachs, was the one who had to enact tarp. what it comes down to wall street right now, timothy geithner still has credibility. he has worked at the fed. the question becomes whether or not the future treasury secretary is going to be able to
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smooth things over between the administration and wall street. this next treasury secretary is going to be a person who has to be a negotiator and can smooth things over with corporate america and main street, america. that is why they will have his or her work cut out for them. host: dominic chu, thank you so much for joining us this morning. guest: thank you for having me. host: up next, we will take you live to the national press club where a couple former members of congress are talking about the executive branch and national energy policy. former senator byron dorgan and former senate majority leader trent lott. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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>> good morning, everybody.
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i and the president of the bipartisan policy center. it is a real pleasure to welcome you here today for the release of the initial recommendations of this effort. the purpose of the bipartisan policy center is to bring together a diverse group of folks, people with a lot of political engagement to hammer out recommendations that are actionable and then advocate for those policies. in 2011, we brought together a new energy projects chaired by the gentlemen to my right. it is a remarkably interesting ,roup of ceo's and officials enterprises, economists, environmental advocates, a wide range of folks. we have had regular meetings
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which have been significantly engaging to say the least. these conversations have been very rich discussions. this is the first efforts that we are going to share with the public. it focuses on decision making in the executive branch. tomorrow is the final negotiation of the group when we will try to nail down final recommendations that we will be released in early next year. today we are here to talk about the recommendations that were released and have a broad conversation about the possibility of moving energy legislation in the next congress. i would close by saying it has been a while since i could say this. there is a lot of good news in energy policy. that is not usually the way these things end. our group has come to believe that the incredible gains on
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energy efficiency, production, and reducing costs have bought us a bit of important time when looking at our national security and economic imperatives. what should we do with that time? the recommendations that we offer today i hope by the first that in helping to answer that question. >> thank you, jason. good morning, everyone. i want to give you background to embellish a bit on what jason told you. we lost this project because we thought while the u.s. is experiencing this boom in oil and natural gas production, we have made progress on energy efficiency. we still face an array of challenges that have to be addressed in the years ahead. our energy and initiative --
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energy initiative it is developing options to confront these challenges during a time of unsustainable national debt and a divided congress. this will create difficult choices and likely to be resolved without national leadership which is the top -- unlikely to be resolved without national leadership. today's release is focused on improving development, implementation, and accountability from the executive branch. we think now is the time to release these recommendations as the president is starting his second term, filling out his cabinet, and his policy agenda. specifically, the first recommendation focuses on
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creating a new counseled charged with both developing a national strategy and providing coordination on all executive branch energy matters. the second recommendation involves a review that implement the strategy. together, these recommendations can help create a more inclusive, balanced, and in during path to meet our long- term energy needs. our chairs are going to discuss the rationales and details behind these recommendations. general jones and bill riley will speak about why these recommendations are warranted. then we will have some time for questions and answers. we thank you for coming. general jones, the floor is
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yours. >> i would like to thank you and my fellow cochairs and the bipartisan policy center's team for the work they have done on what is arguably one of the greatest potentials that this country can achieve and realized in the next few years, and that has to do with our energy future. this is an important day. few objectives are as instrumental as energy security. energy is the lifeblood of a thriving economy and society. our future in energy provides the opportunity to significantly assist us in exiting our economic difficulties with jobs and new opportunities in abundance. we need reliable, affordable,
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and environmentally responsible in terms of supply. i say it is an important day because i believe we find ourselves at a unique point in history at the confluence of urgency and opportunity to them that we should make no mistake about it. -- and opportunity. we should make no mistake about it. if you examine the national intelligence council's global trends 2025 report, you'll find the word "energy" is one of the most repeated factors driving global security over the next 10
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to 15 years. this means that achieving well conceived long term objectives depends on visionary action. the defining feature is about being pro-active. not reactive. this demands a sense of urgency and collegiality among the global community them back for the u.s., the united states, it is another critical challenge for our leadership responsibilities the world over. the proposals that we advocate are the central if only to establish the organization that can actually produce a strategic future, harnessing the sum total of our energy spectrum. today, we have in our grasp great opportunity. america is blessed with energy
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resources and the world's greatest innovators. the energy sector can be as plentiful source of jobs and revenue. matching urgency with opportunity will require the united states to be far more strategic in our thinking and policy making in order to make long term security in national goal. with all of the seriousness and purpose this implies, one that can only be answered by government coordination and cooperation. we need this type of approach to our national energy security. we have had lots of energy policy. policy does not make strategy. we have had a number of national energy plants but nothing produced or implemented with the seriousness or consistency of the national security game
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planning or supported by a coherent architecture that fosters the level of 21st century coordination needed to solve these challenges. our recommendations seek to bring the same level of coordination and record to our national energy policy making and implementation. this is a national security issue. it has a cause for a reorganization and a new approach to best the response ability of energy policy at large in to the department of energy and for the secretary of energy himself. our president will begin a new term in january and we will swear in a new congress. thank you.
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>> bill? >> thank you. the bipartisan policy center is constructed on the quaint proposition that the most successful public policies in american life have been the result of bipartisan cooperation. this enterprise is one of those examples of a project's. if you look at the composition of our group, we are a very diverse group politically in terms of perfection, background, and experience. we come together to present the first of reports that our project will have agreed upon. our premise is that our energy discoveries in recent years have created a transformational change in u.s. energy economy with implications for industrial
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revitalization, national security, trade, and economic development. it is an important moment. we need to make the most of it. the position to enter a new era of relative energy abundance which gives us many options. i look back at my own experience and i remember when the environment assumes salience in the early 1970's. the president put together a council on environmental quality, a new instrument, and gave it the authority to coordinate the administration's approach to the environment. play onnteone everyone wanted o the environment in those days -- everyone wanted to play on the environment in those days.
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an annual report on the state of the environment and to put together the legislative program for the environment. this gave the agency with a staff of about 50 extraordinary authority and intellectual task at a very important time. we would like to see the same thing happen now with respect to energy which i think also everyone wants to play. in your materials, there is a list of 32 committees of congress that are involved with this. 20 agencies of the federal government had significant roles in energy policy. i look back at my own time at the epa when we came up with the idea of recognizing energy efficiency as a way to encourage consumers to purchase equipment.
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we started with computers. that were much more efficient than they had been. basically by introducing the sleep function into computers. we started out and gradually spread to other appliances. i recall the degree of anxiety that this cost to the energy department and then it was a police and reduction effort -- energy department. it was an energy pollution reduction efforts. pollution reduction effort. that is the kind of thing we would like to encourage among the federal agencies. more than anything else, give to this issue the priority, the
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high placement, and the significance that it calls for and give it some unity of approach in producing this quadrennial review and annual report as well. i think we will have learned from a very important experience. i think we will do the country and our economy a great deal of good by promoting the efficiency and promoting a much closer focus on strategy. thank you. >> good morning and thank you all for being here. let me thank the bipartisan policy center for initiating .his energy project them th the diversity of the 18-member board which includes people from the industry, utilities, oil and gas, railroad, academic, labor, environmental -- it is quite a
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group. i think we are going to have a product that will be useful to the administration into the congress next year. what we are doing today is rolling out the governing section which has been greatly encouraged and shaped by general jones who has unique experience of serving in the pentagon and in the military and as the national security adviser to the president. he made a point that i was familiar with based on my experiences, that we had all these different agencies and departments and people all over the government as well as in the congress that had parts of the energy package but it never had a way to be brought together to take a look at what should be our energy policy and came up with this idea of the council which we are recommending where you pull all of the different departments chaired by the
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department of energy secretary, agencies, that will reach out to all the different interested parties to make sure their views are being taken into consideration. to do this quadrennial agency review somewhat similar to what they have done at the pentagon. it is very different from what they do at the pentagon. it is a technique that i have observed that works and is helpful for the department of the defense. talking about a strategy, a broader view, and then through the report get into the details. in the congress, we have all these different committees that claimed some part of the jurisdiction. i had a simple solution. pete, we need some energy legislation and leadership. good luck. every now and then, i would get
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into his territory and he would teach me a lesson about how far i could get into energy policy because he would come to me and say we have to do this differently. one of the questions i know people will ask -- why are you doing it now? the obama administration will have an opportunity to look at these proposals in november and december and hopefully decide to take advantage of them and use them next year. also i am hopeful and will recommend that this not just be administrative action. congress should implement this, too. beyond that, we will have the proper recommendations with regard to other issues of security, jobs, efficiencies, innovation. this is such an important part of our economy in america. if we do not do it in the right way, we will make mistakes.
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when you legislate an atmosphere of crisis, where you have a mess on your hands, you quite often do not do it very well. yes, we are experiencing some good times in energy diversity now. it seems to me now is the opportunity and a fantastic time of challenge for us to develop an overall, the national energy policy to pull things together and plan for the future and not wait for another crisis. another crisis will come. when you look at the impact of energy throughout the world, what is happening with us and how we are all interrelated, it is obvious that we need to take this leadership now. anotgher thing. i am looking for ways in areas where in the past we have had bipartisan cooperation. i believe energy has been one of
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those. we passed energy legislation in 2005 and 2007. it was always -- well, sometimes difficult with the various viewpoints and different sectors of this area. we were able to come together and move could legislation. i think we can do it again. this congress needs some areas where we can come up with some bipartisan result. how you make that happen? it is called leadership. every president has an energy plan. we need this president to have specific recommendations and we need the leaders of congress to tell the chairman and ranking members we are going to move energy legislation. and we need to do it next year. 2013 is the year where this could be done and could be a
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hugely positive achievement for the congress, the economy, and good for the american people. i think when you look for a vision from the 113 congress and a new administration or the continuation of the administration, this is a great opportunity them that we believe our report on governance will contribute in a positive way to some improvements. >> thank you very much. i am really pleased to work with some distinguished people here on the panel and and very proud of the work of the bipartisan policy centered then th. why now? why are we doing this now? we are living in the comfort of really good energy news. what is the problem? why now? no one in this room 10 years ago would have predicted where we
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are today. no one.. this room is full of energy experts. we are filled with good news. that is fine. but the history of energy is a history of ups and downs and uncertainties and so on them that what we believe is despite the good news or because of the good news, this is exactly the time where we are not in crisis to be thinking out further what kind of energy security or national security do we need and how do we make it happen? i come from the northern great plains. "we were raised by people who taught us that life is an enormous struggle. if at some point you are very, very happy, be patient. it will pass." [laughter] probably an apt description of energy.
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it will pass. what next? what do we do next to protect our future? this is an interesting time in our planet and that we have 200,000 new people born every day. about a billion new people coming into the consumer age where they want automobiles to drive, washing machines and refrigerators to operate and all of that need energy. we still import nearly 45% of the oil that we use in this country. is important -- it is important that we work on this issue of the reliability of energy supply, greater efficiency in the use of energy, and especially how we continue to innovate in these areas. these are the core issues for all of us.
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i worked on some energy bills in 2005 and 2007. one passed on a bipartisan vote in 2009 which had a great deal of good policy in it for our country but it never got to the floor of the senate. i will tell you how it happens. one morning, pete came to my office. he said i am going to write an energy bill and i want your help them that i want to know what you think should be in the bill and what you feel must be in its from your standpoint. energy was never about partisan politics. it was always about regions and how you come together with regional interests to put a bill to get the. it is the way pete started that energy bill.
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we wrote a bill. it was a republican and democratic bill. it was about advancing the interests of the country. we can do that again. that is not impossible. we got into a bad habit with gridlock in everything. it ought to be trying to evaluate what are the various regional interests of the country. what we are going to do is release this in two parts. this is the first today. general jones and bill reilly contributed a great deal to this. it is about how do you in a government that has a 20- something agencies that have a piece of the policy, how do you make some sense of that? how do you deal with these stovepipes that exist? this is like an orchestra
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without a conductor. what we put together is a proposal that will address the issue of leadership and structure. than the quadrennial review which will address the question of how it is being implemented. these are really important issues. the second part will be released in january which deals with a range of very specific energy policy areas. all of them are very, very important. let me finally say again this has been a really interesting project. many of us have served for many, many years. this project is very, very unique. stakeholders attempting to reconcile their views in a larger sense of what is a priority of the country. i think it has been very exciting and exhilarating to be a part of it. >> i believe we have some time
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for questions. gentlemen.ome and gentlem, we are open for questions. we would like to start with the media first. let us know what youto your question is directed to. -- who your question is directed to? . sir? right here. >> hi. what you are calling for, how would that be different than what happened in 2001? how can you have set policy without people demanding closed door talks? thanks. >> i would only say the concept
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that we have it includes cabinet officers and is intended to be open to stakeholders throughout the government and also to consult pretty widely with non- governmental organizations and corporations. even indian tribes. the effort really is directed to be inclusive. if it were not inclusive, it would not be very attractive to congress who we hope will concretize this in a statutory form. it has to be an open arms kind of enterprise that really does take advantage of the tremendous capabilities, richness, and experience of not just the federal agencies but of the culture. >> if i could just piggyback on that by saying one of the first things that we did in the obama administration was combine the homeland security council,
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national security council which created an atmosphere of oneness in terms of security threats that face the country then that we borrowed from the concept of the national security strategy and the quadrennial defense for reviews. we changed it somewhat to aply it to the field of energy where we had arrangements that with some many departments have been major jurisdiction on pieces of the energy portfolio do not ever seem to be able to come together around one table to produce an energy policy or strategy. the report is essentially without adding anything -- it
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does not cost any money to rearrange the deck chairs in such a way where you could have an instrument to evaluate how you are doing. it is basically kind of a copy of what the defense department or the national security council do to make sure strategically we not only have the organization but the processes that verify how you are doing as you go down the path. it calls for the secretary of energy to not be simply the secretary of nuclear energy but the secretary of energy at large. it does not take anything from anyone. it means when the president wants to talk about energy strategy, that he has got a mechanism and a single point of contact that is responsible for the orchestration and the
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development of producing such a document. this is, we think, is reasonable and will be good for the country economically and will be good for americans to know that we do have a strategy and is articulated and you can read it in documents and it is also good for america's leadership role on the globe as energy becomes more and more a very significant part of the problems that face of growing populations. thank you. >> this was patterned after the concept of what we have at the pentagon. it is different. it is not command or control. it is pretty amazing to think all these different departments and agencies and players do not come together in some coordinated way to sit down and
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talk about what we need to do in energy than the agriculture has a piece of this. i think you mentioned the 20 different agencies. it is a way to bring them together, develop a plan, and then do these reviews which will get into it more in-depth. i think it will be helpful for congress also. >> sir? >> how do you plan to address the fact that electric utilities are controlled by state agencies? and the ineffectiveness of the national group? >> the only thing i would say on that is the number of people who are actually in the position of regulating electricity at the
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state level is relatively small. it is a community that is a coherent community and can be engaged and has a large interest in getting some reasonably agreed upon policies for the kinds of things that really face the regulators of electric energy in states which are going to involve a very significant, new, needed investment in transmission to move the gas around that we are discovering in such abundance. that is just one example of collaboration that needs to be encouraged. i believe that the council that reached out to the regulators recognizing that there is a large federal involvement as well and how that is done and the kind of division of respond to these and authorities that are agreed upon would be in the
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south interest of the regulators at the state level. >> let me try to respond to part of that. with respect to pipelines and natural gas pipeline, we have had about 11,000 miles of pipeline built in this country came bank during the same time, we had about six -- built in this country. the reason for that is pretty obvious. ferc has backstop authority for citing natural gas pipelines. it is very hard to build high- voltage interstate transmission in this country. the issue of planning, pricing, and siting or issues that are
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very controversial-- are issues that are very controversial. at the committee level, it passed on a bipartisan vote in the senate and then died an unnatural death. we had a transmission title in that bill that gave ferc some backstop authority for siting. if you go down the line in planning and siting and can't reach agreement, there is backstops authority to get it done. that is the only way we are going to maximize the capability of producing more diverse kinds of energy and maximizing the production of renewable energy
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which means building transmission and a public policy that helps accomplish that and is friendly to that. >> we have not completed our work in thathis area. we will be meeting all day tomorrow with the board to discuss this particular area. we will try to come to an agreement. we do have different points of view in this area. so far we have been able to work them out in a very positive way. >> given that energy policy is a de facto climate policy, and climb a policy is an area where we have not seen much bipartisan coordination, what do you see as the potential for bipartisan work that could address the security aspects of climate change? >> one of the things i have
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always said on that is why get into a big debate or disagreement over climate change and what is causing it and the impact? i think you should be looking at things you can do that would be positive for the economy and positive for the environment. look for solutions rather than arguing over political points of view. that has been the attitude of this entire board to try to find ways we can do a better job of controlling and limiting what we put into the environment. i think that is going to be the attitude that we showed in our report. >> part of the good news that need attention is the tremendous achievements in energy productivity the country has made in the last 30 or 40 years since the 1970's despite the increase in gdp.
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we have achieved vast reductions in business as usual energy use over that time. due to efficiency and things like the energy star and a encouragements in the statutes to promote efficiency. that is a surrogate for a lot of things many of us would like to see happen with respect to energy policy. as the senator said, that is something on which congress has demonstrated as recently as the last five or six years that they can come together. i think it can do it again and perhaps in a somewhat more aggressive way and take advantage of the efficiency opportunities that we now know we have. some of the regulators of electricity in places like california and new york have figured out how to make it attractive to their energy
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providers to promote more efficiency through the advantage of the consumer by reducing rates. i think there are many things we will be able to agree on that will advance the cause of de- carbgonizaing the economy. >> the diversity of fuel sources and uses as well as efficiency trouble parallel to the interests of good environmental policy. >> in 2007, congress agreed on standards, and the administration has continued to work to move those numbers up even more. there is a classic example where we actually did something that had a real impact. >> i wondered -- the recommendations you are making -- i understand you are trying to bring together these agencies
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across the executive branch. these legislative branch is very much a partner in this. how do your recommendations during the congressional leadership in and coordinate them as well as with the executive branch leadership? >> we will recommend that this be institutionalized or created also legislatively. but i think congress will benefit from what our council would discuss and come up with. i think congress would benefit. i guarantee you the arms services committee, we will know what the result will be going forward so it makes sense that we do it in the energy field and that information be made available to congress hopefully next year. >> the congress would have a more central place to go to to
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talk about the bigger issues of pertaining to energy and they will retain their oversight rights of the other departments. at least there will be much more cohesion than the articulation of a strategic energy policy than we have today. >> the seventh fleet and the recommendations there is consultation with congress -- specifically in the recommendations but there is consultation with congress. that brings in this consultation idea that it is not just one branch of the government putting something out. sir? >> leading up to the election, pretty much every media outlet came up with their short list of who would be in the cabinet for
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mitt romney and for president obama. when you talk about setting up this council, how did you guard against some sort of volatility in the national energy policy from a change in administration? how do you in sure that you get the proper signals to the business community that the policies are put in place that will be carried over? >> one person who has to take this seriously as the president. my sense in the experiences i have had, and this would be a very significant move by the administration, is taken seriously by everyone in the government which is a tremendous incentive to coronation. >> there will always be some volatility with a new administration or even a second term of an administration where
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there will be some changes in the cabinet people that have been there for years. -- thre four years. this would not be something done instantaneously. the report would be done -- would not be done until the end of the first quarter giving time for changes in cabinet positions or agency heads. that would be available to the administration and congress. i do not think there would be that big a problem. usually, the cabinet is filled by, i believe, usually in february at least. they would have time to pull together the council. >> with different administrations, there are different areas of emphasis. as indicated where the
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development of energy policy -- conservative republican presidents or progressive democratic presidents generally speaking are still working with a relatively small range of what is needed for the country in energy policy. they might tend to emphasize one area or another. i don't worry that the structure issues here in place for multiple administrations -- i don't worry that the structure would be irrelevant to any kind of administration. also, the development of metrics which is very important. when we talk about a quadrennial review, we are talking about the development of metrics so you can evaluate what you have accomplished and how you have moved relative to the strategy
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developed. that is a very important element. >> i did not realize the progress made through energy efficiency and what an impact it has had in reducing our energy demands and usage. i found it out as a part of this energy project. >> let's go over here. >> i wanted to follow up on the question earlier about climate change. if when you're talking about developing a national energy strategy, to what degree should moving away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal, to what degree should that be a priority of this new strategy? >> i do not think we went to anticipate the kind of things we are going to propose in january and some of what we have not agreed to. we believe in a full portfolio
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of energy sources. we are recognizing that all will have to play a role in the future. we will have recommendations with respect to fossil fuels and for renewables and the kinds of priorities they need to have liked the way of constructing subsidies or incentives. all of that will be an hour materials anticipated early in the new year. the fundamental principle we have always had is the country has to have a complete portfolio a sources if we're to have successful energy policy, one that works for the economy and the environment going forward. >> we will have a discussion in our report about how we go forward in the nuclear area also. >> sir?
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>> have you got a strategy now for approaching the congressional leadership to make them recognize that it is a higher priority? >> actually, we are going to be working on that and we are committed to not only talking about what we are recommending but taking it to the administration. we obviously have members of the board that have access to the administration. i have always discussed this with a number of members. those that are going to be players in this area. when we get the final product, we are going to take it to congress and to the administration for their review and evaluation as they move
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forward for an energy bill. >> we are very interested in an aggressive strategy that will reach out to the administration and to congress to say here is an attempt that shows you can put a bipartisan group together with different interests around the table to reach an agreement on very important policy for the country. >> we ought to engage different think tanks as well as well as the chamber of commerce and other organizations to read what we produce to join in us in supporting what is obviously something that is in the national interest. >> other questions? we have exhausted your questions. with that, i want to thank the
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cochairs for being with us today. we hope to see you in january. thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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>> also live in washington this morning, coming up at 11:30 a.m., dick durbin will be speaking about the so-called fiscal cliff and that is a reduction -- and deficit reduction. we will have that live here on c-span at 11:30 a.m. eastern. over at the white house today, president obama is meeting with small business owners. at 12:30, jay carney will hold a press briefing and take questions from reporters. this afternoon, the president and vice president will meet with the mexican president who takes office december 1. the press briefing today at 12:30. on capitol hill, the house of
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representatives returns today at 2:00 p.m. eastern on their agenda this afternoon five bills including a measure requiring the department of a homeland security to report on security. later this week, a student visa program. also this week, the democratic leadership elections. that will be coming up later this week. live coverage of the house at 2:00 p.m. eastern. a number of senators have been meeting with u.n. ambassador susan rice in the wake of her comments following the attack on the benghazi consulate. just wrapping up is a brief news conference and statement with senators. here is a look.
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>> i had a very candid ambassador rice embassador ric and the deputy director of the cia. [inaudible] she said if it was a spontaneous
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demonstration. it was not. there was telling evidence at that time. >> [inaudible]
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i am very disappointed in our intelligence community. i think they failed in many ways. i think it would be pretty clear that to explain this episode as related to a video that created a mob that turned into a riot was far-filled. at the end of the day, we are going to get to the bottom of this. we have to have a system that we trust. if you don't know what happened, just say you don't know what happened. you can say "i do not want to give that information." you can say the american people got bad information from president obama in the days after. the question is should they have been given the information at
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all? if you can do nothing but give that information, it is better to give no information at all. not only is the information bad, and i am more convinced than ever that it was, but it was unjustified to give the scenario as presented by ambassador rice and president obama three weeks before an election. >> [inaudible] >> i want to say that i am more troubled today having met the acting director of the cia and ambassador rice because it was clear from the beginning that we knew that those with ties to al qaeda were involved in the attack on the embassy and clearly the impression that was given was wrong. ambassador rice said today
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absolutely it was wrong. said't understand the cia clearly that information was wrong and they knew by the 22nd it was wrong yet they have not clear that up with the american people to date including they said this was the reaction to to the video, the attacks. what troubled me also is obviously, the changes made to the unqualified talking points were misleading. just to be clear, when you have a position where you are ambassador to the you knighted nations, you go well beyond -- unitedador to the nations, you go well beyond talking points.
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in addition to, it is not just the talking collins, but clearly it is her responsibility as an ambassador to the united nations to do much more than that. >> before anyone can make an intelligent and decision, we need to do a lot more. to this date, we do not have the fbi interviews of the survivors from after the attack. we do not have the basic information about what was said about the night of the attack as of this date. i remember the episode pretty well. our democratic friends felt like they did not have the information needed to make the alteration to make about john bolton. democrats dug in their heels and a they were not going to consider the nomination until
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they would get basic answers to their concerns. the concerns i have far greater today there and they were before and we are not even close to getting a basic cancer. >> i have many more questions that need answering. >> that was about 10 minutes ago after meeting with u.n. ambassador susan rice, mentioned as a possible replacement for outgoing secretary of state, hillary clinton. coming up, more discussion on the so-called fiscal cliff this timeless and a majority with dick durbin at the center for american progress in washington. we will have that live. up until then, part of this
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morning's "washington journal." host: we want to welcome jack gerard, ceo of the american petroleum institute. let us go back to campaign 2012. the american patroleum institute spent about $858,000 on the campaign cycle. total contribution to pac's over $650,000. and contributions to candidates, $217,000. given that you spent a lot on mitt romney's bid, how you think this will impact your ability to communicate with the white house and with the congress? what do you think your relationship will be? guest: we ran what we call a vote for energy campaign.
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which was focused on elevating energy to be a top issue. we believe it was highly successful. the reason it was is because you heard both candidates. they are both giving an endorsement of natural gas as a cheap form of energy in an odd states to create jobs and help with our economic recovery. the dollars being spent were not partisan in nature. we were not supporting one candidate over the other. our candidate was energy and we were focused on elevating that content to a higher level. that is what we have achieved and we feel good about that. we believe the president has moved this almost 180 degrees and a positive direction to say we can become more energy self- sufficient. and in doing so create hundreds of millions of new jobs. millions of billions of dollars in tax revenue and make us more secure and less reliance on outsiders. it was about promoting energy.
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host: do you support mitt romney's bid? guest: we do not support anyone in particular at all. -- he has spoken about raising taxes sent into action. reading the best approach is to allow the developing energy resources, and from that developed vast amounts of revenue to the government. people did not realize that the industry contributed $86 million a day to the federal government. the best approach here is, let us develop the united states resources, put our people to work, create more taxpayers and in the course of that coming generate billions in need, to create trillions by 2025. that is the right policy approach. not single out an industry for punitive treatment. we pay not only our fair share,
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we pay more than our fair share. host: the process of extracting that natural-gas, fracking. what regulations are coming from this administration? guest: what has made it possible for us to talk about energy security -- by 2020, if we produce our own energy, united states, we will surpass saudi arabia. now think of that. that is a big change for the country to make us more energy secure, producing our energy resources. the technologies we use today to open up this vast resources, as well as oils. but we couple that with a horizontal drilling. so today we control and to great depths and turn ago were
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as of late for an extended lapse of distance where we can produce oil and natural gas like never before. the states regulate the oil and gas industry. those states were busted the activity is occurring, pennsylvania, ohio, north dakota, they have already taken action to regulate the industry and have done that appropriately. we support a robust regulation reduced to think we do too far you can discourage the very thing you are trying to create. host: i think governor cuomo's but to make a decision on natural gas for his state. what is its stake? guest: he is the one governor that has lagged a little bit purity announced lost week that the report will once again be delayed and will not be produced until early next year. we believe we can do it safely
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as we demonstrated over the 65 years we have been using the technology. here is one key factor. we drove over 1.2 million. and there's never been a case of a ground water contamination as a result of hydraulic fraking. host: here is the "washington times." freaking out over fracking. they are poisoning our drinking water. said one opponent, referring to the oil and gas industry. the you say with the utmost confidence that this does not have any impact on drinking water? guest: absolutely. but the impacts on the environment. we are highly regulated. the industry takes its own initiative, the gold standard.
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we promote that across the industry. many regulators, and after we develop these practices and adopt them as a regulatory issue because they are tough, they require high levels of performance. and that is the nature of the culture of our industry. we live in those communities. we want more than anybody to protect those environments. a lot of this is scare tactics by those two fundamentally oppose this. we need energy. the president has the knowledge that. oil and natural gas produced a lot of the energy we consume today and is estimated to provide over 50% of our energy
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50 years from now. we need the resources. how we produced it in a safe and sound fashion to protect the environment and the work force? we can do that. our history shows that we can do that. and we continue to do that into the future. greater public awareness helps their cause. what will be the response? guest: it led us back to the truth. we always debate our conversation on facts. we had not reached do mr. damon about the industry. they were not interested in that. there will be a lot of half truths. and we will respond to it. when you get to the bottom line and the facts, oil and natural gas is produced safely in this country. the opportunity to improve
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technology and have a significant breakthrough. it is a gamechager to employ our own people. technology and have a significant breakthrough. it is a gamechager to employ our own people. produce revenues to government. make this energy secure. those are big issues, big opportunities. should not overlook those. >> the front page of usa today, walt rises in the heartland. -- "wealth rises in usa's heartland." some of these rural areas in the middle of the country seeing their unemployment related to the energy boom. guest: that is right. much of it is tied directly to energy. the recession would have been much deeper it did not have been for the energy and gas industry. one thing we like to remind people, you look at north dakota. i say little. today they have the lowest unemployment rate in the united states they have become the number 2 oil producer in the country. the median income in north dakota is about $90,000. they are listed budget surplus.
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the last estimate was $1.6 billion. it is a big deal. it can happen right across the country. pennsylvania has seen over 80,000 new jobs over the past years. they now have the opportunity to participate in this great opportunity to make us more energy secure and create jobs. it is a big deal. host: on our line for independents, you are on. go ahead. caller: but me ask you a question. what about the liberte raid in alaska? is it something like, they are drilling down 40,000 feet? they stopped it for the last 10,000 because they want to put
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a damper on the oil in the middle east? isn't that true? guest: i assume you are talking about the shell operations. that is what you are talking about, let me give you a backdrop, we have been in a process for over five years, they have invested over $4 million and those operations, and only this summer were they allowed to have a partial drill into that area. they now come off those areas and expect to go back and next summer during the summer drilling. but we have vast resources. of hundreds of millions of barrels of oil. cleaner-burning natural gas which i might add, has driven carbon emissions down to 1992 levels. it was merely because we had a supply of natural gas.
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host: we will go to dave on our line for democrats, decver. go ahead. caller: what is the son back to the keystone pipeline if it comes into production? what is the approximate percentage of those petroleum products that will be retained in the united states? guest: thank you for the question. coming from denver, you have a great governor out there, a big proponent of oil and gas development. thanks to you and others out there who support this robust development. on the keystone xl pipeline we haven't been disappointed that it has not been approved. there are 20,000 jobs associated with that.
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what we see today is hope that the president will approve it. next few months. that will be one of the first tests as to what he promised the american people during the campaign, that he would support the development of oil and natural gas. many people associate the keystone of xl pipeline only with canadian production. but just a moment ago, a lot of the production comes from north dakota and from montana, we are moving domestic product down to the gulf of mexico. it is expected that the vast majority of that production would be used domestically. we can produce all that the country needs and are exporting a little bit. the more will bring into the marketplace, the more downward pressure on prices. we're hopeful the president will approve the keystone pipeline. there is no time limitation on the president. host: who do expect will make that announcement?
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guest: i expect the president will announce that decision. host: do you continue to have direct communication with this white house? guest: we continue to have an ongoing dialogue with the white house. senior people wanted to talk about the role of energy. we talk about what else we can be doing to get the economy back on track. our dialogue continues. that is the approach we have taken. on other areas we can find common ground and we hope to do that moving forward. we have those talks at the appropriate and highest levels at the administration.
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host: not going to tell us with whom? guest: we will keep that as a private conversation. caller: it affects us all lot in bismarck. retail is unbelievable. it extends westward from where i'm at and eastward. i have never seen anything like it. it is unbelievable.
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host: do you feel you're benefiting indirectly from this industry? caller: no, not really. i have good hopes for my state. i am retired. i remember years of poverty and things were not going well. it is almost like the gold rush. guest: you have seen that tape placed in your great state -- you have seen that take place in your great state. north dakota is the number two oil producer. 700,000 barrels a day. texas is the only state that surpasses them. 1.1 million barrels a day. that is an increase of about 60,000 barrels.
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many other states are becoming energy producers. put a lot of people back to work. host: here is a question from stella on twitter. guest: yes. the oil and natural gas industry contributes money to the fed or government. we pay billions of dollars in taxes and we are happy to do so. our only request is you do not single out the industry for punitive tax treatment. we talk about issues like fiscal cliff, we are all for that. we believe policy should be neutral and equitable across all industries.
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we're anxious to get to the table and to talk about tax policy. we believe the corporate rate in the united states is too high. we're anxious to contribute to the overall recovery of the united states and we believe we're doing that now. host: there have been record profits by the oil and gas industry. is it not fair for them to pay more? guest: the reason the numbers
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are high is because they are large companies. they compete against foreign governments. we're not even the top 10 on a global basis. look at it from the perspective based on dollar of sales. we fall somewhere in the middle of other companies. apple computer is far more profitable than the oil and gas industries. tax policy should be equitable across all industry. we know what the rules of the game are. if you invest money for oil investments and you're allowed
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to recover that cost, all companies should be treated equally. we should say here is the tax policy of the united states. let companies compete against each other. host: go ahead, will. caller: thank you. i would recommend "booktv." each of us has an energy sufficiency. there is an interview about the real future of american energy. i met atmosphere scientist with over 35 years of experience. a storm like super storm sandy is a storm we have never seen before. it is due to industrial pollution from burning fossil fuels such as petroleum.
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some might question is this. how much responsibility does the petroleum industry willing to take for superstar sandy and other climate disasters that are looming on the horizon? how do you justify using billions of years of energy accumulation through your own individual wealth? thank you very much. guest: thank you for the question. the oil and natural gas industry are leaders in alternative forms of energy. we take our responsibility very seriously. we have invested more than the federal government in these different forms of energy over
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the past 10 years. we take second seat to nobody for energy future. we understand our role and are looking always for new energy forms. we have a vast diversity of energy that we produce. climate has been a discussion in the united states for the past decade or so. carbon emissions right now are at 1992 levels. the economy has slowed down and we need to get people back to work and to get the economy recovered. we're burning a lot more clean- burning natural gas today and
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that is displacing other forms of energy. that was made possible because of hydraulic fraction. the price has been pushed down from about $13 to about $3. we do understand the relationships between various forms of energy. we take our responsibility seriously. we have the lowest commissions in many years. host: the climate change conference is taking place in qatar.
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a new round of talks is beginning. the developing countries have been asked to focus on the essential tasks ahead. what are you concerned about this? guest: i think the united states should go over there with her head held high. look how we reduced our clean burning emissions. we're back to where we were 20 years ago. too many people expect to have an answer immediately and you can do that in energy policy. it took us 100 years to get off wood. we try focus on realistic
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aspirations. that is what we should be talking about. host: back to the keystone discussion on twitter. guest: well, let me back up. oil is set on a global market basis. the price is determined by global factors. the united states is part of that global market. the important thing to remember is the united states by 2020 could surpass saudi arabia as the number 1 will producer in the world. anything we produce contributes to the global marketplace, thus pushing the price down. part of the solution is to focus on the united states and
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create well paying jobs and make us more energy secure. if we can produce it right here at home, we will be better off. host: darnell in waldorf, maryland. caller: oil companies and gas companies want to suppress solar. they hide the chemicals that they are using. if you think you can pump chemicals into the earth -- you live in a fantasy world. guest: let me add a few facts to that comment.
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we should have a true all the above that includes solar, wind in addition to oil and natural gas. the amount of chemicals is very minuscule compared to the water volume and the sand that goes down. that is used to create the pressure to crack the rock. it water tables are 400 feet near the surface. we're down about 8,000 feet. it is impossible for anything to migrate up to those water tables. there has been no contamination of groundwater as a result of hydraulic fracturing.
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that is a fact. people say we should not be consuming fossil fuels. we can have a good discussion about what the energy policy should be. it should not be injected with fear. caller: good morning. what an interesting show. a question about the law that requires ethanol to be used in a motor fuel when there is new technology from a corporation that uses coal or natural gas to make ethanol at approximately half the cost of
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the current corn-based program without any government subsidy. wouldn't that make sense? guest: there are different forms of renewable energy that is out there. you talk about corn-based ethanol. a fuel standard that was created it is not workable. there was a petition saying it is driving up the cost of food and feed for cattle because of drought in the midwest and we should with that requirement. we believe the current law is unworkable and needs to be changed. we will be working with the
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congress to get back to a more free-market approach as it relates to forms of energy. we shouldn't pick winners or losers. the government should not pick a particular company or technology. let the market drive those. new technologies will emerge because the market will incentivize those, or to add to the mix. host: here is seadog on twitter. guest: we have a number of fleets have moved to compressed natural gas in their vehicles. they go out on their drives each day and come back work they can fuel.
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the cost of the filling station is costly. i believe you will see filling stations more and more scattered across the country. the vast production of natural gas has driven the price down to where it is competitive with gasoline. host: john on the independent line. caller: we import most of our oil from the middle east. >> we now go to the center for american progress in washington. senator dick durbin and there, the majority whip, will be speaking about the so-called the fiscal cliff. he will said democrats should be opened to an overhaul of entitlement programs in but
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changes should not be rushed. this is just in. under way live bonds these. . [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> i just wanted to lay out a few principles that i think are critical as washington becomes obsessed with this issue. first and foremost, election will have consequences. at cap, we have argued the issues framing the cliff where litigated in the election of context. the president did not have one set of conversations before november and another now. the threat was around having a balanced plan to address physical challenges. we and knowledge there are a series of physical challenges and we do need long-term deficit
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reduction in the is important for america's credibility, the economy, and economic growth. that plan has to be balanced and that means significant revenues and the pain has to go around. the wealthy and the well off me to pay their fair share as well. beazer issues that were debated- discussed, even in the foreign policy debate. we think american people are wrongly decided the president and the democrats making this case. we want to remind everyone that there has already been $1 trillion, over $1 trillion of, in spending cuts. that is a significant part of the debate that gets lost because it happened last year. just because washington has a
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short memory does not mean we should all have one. there have already been sacrifices on behalf of the american people through those cuts. we are particularly excited because we have been doing a lot of work on and the fiscal cliff. we have been working on ways to help medicare savings plans and we will address taxes, but we are ecstatic to have senator durbin here today. he has played such a central role over the last several years and he has literally been part of every conversation that has taken place and he is still here. that is a sign of progress. senator durbin has had a long history of being an advocate for the middle class and he has carried that advocacy in the budget negotiations. he was part of the
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supercommittee. he was in the fiscal gain of eight, every day involved in these issues. -- gang of eight and every gang involved. stands true for the values of the american people and those people who waited in line to vote in people who voted to want a fair shake out of washington. as a champion of that, and i'm excited to have senator durbin here with us. [applause] >> neera, thank you for those kind words. it's good to see you and be here at the center of american progress. thank you for all the work you do. elections, as you say, have consequences and politics is driven by a lot of things, but money, and many times by ideas and issues.
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the center has been at the forefront of that effort to make sure that progressive ideas are backed up by more than just feelings and hard but arguments of the mind that are compelling and persuasive. thank you for doing that. i don't know what we would do without you and it's an honor to be here with you. she's right. i have been involved in a lot of gang activity lately. it started with harry reid and the simpson-bowles commission. i thought this was another commission where the work would be buried on some hard drive, but it turned out to be a historic effort and a game changer. mainly through the good work of erskine bowles and alan simpson, but hard work was put into this by 18 members, evenly divided between house and senate, democrat and republican. we voted for the final work
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product. then i was invited to join the gang of 6 to try to continue the conversation and that expanded to the gang of 8. has been going on for two years. that's awful lot of popcorn in mark warner's office, but it was a great indication -- education and in really talking through not just the reality of the deficit but the political reality of the deficit, which we have to be more sensitive to if we're looking for a solution. all all the way, some of my friends on the left came to visit. i recall one in particular, a labor leader who said, "what is a nice progress of like you doing in a place like this? why are you hanging with these people? you know they are up to no good ." i disagreed with this person and i said, given a choice between
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attending a press conference and a walk. outside with a sign it, or been seated at the table, which you think is the best place for me? she said tuesday at the table. that is why i have been there. i think i have a role to play and a voice to add that will not be there otherwise. just by way of background, and up in politics thanks to paul douglas and paul simon. paul douglas was the first person i met in politics, a u.s. senator, ph.d. in economics, an extraordinary man who served until 1966. i was a college intern in his office. he used to say, you do not have to be a wastrel to be a liberal. i think we would say you do not have to be wasteful, but he was much more literate -- literal than me. paul simon, also a strong
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supporter of the balanced budget agreement. there is a blend of fiscal conservatism and sanity when it comes to spending issues and i agree. what we are faced with now is a threat to our country, a threat to our budget at every level. the money that we are borrowing to sustain our government is money that is borrowed to sustain food stamps as well as missiles. we ought to be thinking about that in terms of our values and our future. let me speak to me few elements here that i think progressives should keep in mind. progressives cannot afford to stand on the sidelines in this fiscal cliff debate. denying the obvious, important critical decisions will be made soon that affect this country for 10 years. i think we need to be a part of
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this conversation. that means we need to be opened to some topics and issues that are painful for us to talk about. we cannot stand by in denial that this will ever engage us in the things that we value. we cannot be so i leave to believe just taxing the rich will solve the problems. i believe it is an important part of a solution on. we have to look to reform and change that is significant, that deserves many of the values and programs that brought us to political life, and we cannot believe that merely ignoring these programs, or not engaging, will solve the problem. pick up any of the newspapers on the hill and look at the full- page ads and you will see on a daily basis organizations that we respect, hear about, are engaged in a are buying ads
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saying to the left, keep your hands off entitlements. to the right, keep your hands off taxes. if both sides he those warnings, nothing will happen and that's not good for america. it is better for us to engage with some basic values and principles. let me tell you what i mean. first, start with the premise that we need to preserve and extend productivity in the tax code. i think the lesson is clear. we know what has happened to middle-income families and those making less. they are falling further and further behind. what the president has proposed, what the congress has passed, the $250,000 protection, those making less than that would have no tax increase after the cliff is significant. the average wage in illinois is $50,000. if we do not protect these families from the fiscal cliff,
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they will see their annual taxes go up $2,000. for those living paycheck to paycheck, it will be noticed. it should not happen. i hope the house takes this up to pass the bill to protect those making less than $250,000 per year. with one vote, they can avoid the fiscal cliff for 98% of american families when it comes to income-tax is. we know what has happened over the last several decades when it comes to the progressivity of incumbent -- and become inequality. it's the worse it has been in almost 90 years. between 1980-2005, more than 80% of the total increase in american income went to the wealthiest 1%. since the recession ended, more than 90% have gone to the top 1%
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while the median income of the middle class has declined. i can go on and give illustrations, but i do not think i need to, at least to this group, but when we address the issue of revenue and taxes, i have insisted in every meeting from simpson-bowls to the gangs that it has to protect the current progress of the if not improve it for the lower income categories. that is the starting principle for those of us were progressives. we must protect the safety net of america. make no mistake, as good as we are, estoppel as we may be, there will always be people here who need a helping hand because of whatever it may be, they will need a helping hand or just economic circumstances define themselves in. i went to a food bank in champaign, ill., last year in a warehouse and i took a tour. there is a nicely dressed young
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lady there and i watched as she accompanied us. i thought she might be on the board here. i spoke to her for a few minutes and she talked about her kids. she worked for the local school district and she was glad to have a job, but it did not pay enough money as a single mom with two kids. she said she learned to sing to me that the snap program allows her to take her family to a farmer's market with fresh fruits and vegetables. this woman is trying her very best in sheeny -- and she's still needs a helping hand. i was out in a prepared three in chicago and by went up to a lady and i asked her if she minded tell in her circumstances. she said she was on social security. she got $800 per month. her rent and utility was $600. i asked her how she made it and she said she comes here and they give her three days worth of food each month and she gets
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food stamps worth $37 a month. that's the reality for many people struggling, the working poor as well as those who are retired and in an impoverished state. we have to make sure the end of the day when we talk about our budgets and our deficit that we do not overlook the obvious, the safety net which is absolutely essential for our future. the third element is part of the guiding principle. we have to keep our recovery on track. it is absolutely essential that this recovery, which is moving forward -- slowly, but forward, continue to move forward. some have said we should just go over the cliff and see what happens. if we are not careful, it could stop economic growth and hurt everyone in every income category, particularly those who are most vulnerable. as we go forward, we have to be mindful of the economic recovery
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that we're dealing with here. that, to me, is essential. i help my friends at fox are sitting down when they hear this, but president obama did not invent $1 trillion deficits. the day he took office, the budget was more than $1 trillion in the red with more deficit forecast in the years to come. despite the extraordinary steps needed to deal with the great recession, the economy has actually decreased every year for the last three years from 10% of gdp to 7% of g.d.p. today. the sources not the democratic and national committee but investors business daily, a respected publication. they said, believe it or not, the deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any stretch since world war ii. outside of that era, the only time the deficit has fallen
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pastor with and the economy relapsed in 1937 turning the great depression and to a decade-long affair. if u.s. history offers a guide, we are already testing the speed limits of a fiscal consolidation that does not risk backfire. that's the point i'm making. as we implement deficit reduction, we must be sensitive to the economic recovery and we do not move too quickly or in a way that will jeopardize the recovery. now comes the basics of putting it together. i really go back to simpson- bowles. put everything on the table -- i repeat -- everything on the table. not only taxes and revenue, but spending cuts and entitlement reform. let me speak about each. first, revenue. so many people in the business community and outside have talked about simpson-bowles and how much of the guideline in what we are engaged in.
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it relied on revenue for 40% of the deficit reduction over a 10- year period of time. it is understandable when you read the report, as i went through it this morning, why they say this. if you look back to the last year, when we had a balanced budget under president william jarvis and clinton, you'll find at that point in time, the revenues reflected 19.6% of gdp in spending was 19.6% of gdp. where are we today? but at the estimates. yesterday, warren buffett said 16.5% and it is coming in as revenue and i have heard lower. spending, it is somewhere on the range of 22%-24%. to me, that is the reality of
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what is happening. a decline in revenue and an increase in spending for a variety of reasons we could go through. if we're serious about deficit reduction, we often -- we have to move back. the closer we can get to an 18% level as we bring down spending, the more likely we are to have a stable economy in the years ahead. let's talk about what has happened since the time when we did have our budget in balance. the chairman of the appropriations committee of dates the figures from time to time, but let's take a look at where we are today compared to where we were in fiscal year 2001 when the government actually ran a $128 billion surplus. compared to this figure, we are spending less on non-security discretionary spending than we were then. in other words, the growth in
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spending has not been in the non-defense discretionary accounts. second, the cost of security programs in that same time income since we were last in balance, has gone up 60%. the parma of defense fund. has gone up 64%. the cost of mandatory programs, after adjusting for population growth, up 30%. revenues as a government down 13%. spending up in the categories mentioned. we have already passed a major down payment when it comes to deficit reduction. the budget control act. $1.50 trillion in savings over the next 10 years, but i want to call your attention to one aspect which progressives need to remind people. of the $1.50 trillion already in spending cuts, $900 billion it comes from non-defense spending.
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we have given far more towards deficit reduction than we have seen on the defense side. that is a big to keep in mind as we talk about spending cuts in the future. let's talk about those for a minute. as i mentioned earlier, the budget control act, and sequestrations', would result in dramatic cuts in spending. we have heard a lot of talk about the impact that this will have on our national defense. there's not anyone left, right, or center, a west compromise america's national defense, but spending one war in iraq and another in afghanistan and, reassessing our role in the world to say we cannot find savings is an unfair assessment. there are savings to be had that will not compromise national security. i want to also add simpson- establishedroach
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fire walls in the years to delay the temptation to go back in to the non-defense accounts when there was too much political pressure to keep you out of defense spending. i hope and a long-term agreement would include that. on non-defense, i still think there are savings to be found. i will give you a few illustrations that i think maybe of some value. hats off to debbie stabbing now putting together a farm bill -- debbie stabenow. that hits my state directly. i think they did a thoughtful, bipartisan job of saving money towards deficit reduction. there are other areas where savings can be found as well. i think we need to look at them honestly. i think infrastructure is one area where we should consider, as simpson-bowles does, a revenue source towards an infrastructure bank. we're not spending enough. we're not investing enough in
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the infrastructure of america. today, china invests 9% of its gdp to infrastructure. europe, 5%. america, 2.5%, barely enough to sustain and repair what's in place. there is no grand vision ahead about infrastructure. beyond the obvious of highways, ports, airports, we need to think about energy infrastructure and whether it serves our economy well. we have already seen it some thought of suggestions from both sides of the aisle, but i would say when it comes to spending in the future, we need to be thoughtful about ways to fund infrastructure. i just saw merkel rahm emmanuel's in comments about that subject. comments.mmanuel's the national defense and education act, i want to give a belated thanks to the soviets
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for schering in the hell out of the united states. as a result, they created a program that got me through college and law school. we cannot give up. from this kid -- for this kid comedies make a big difference. let's look at this honestly. 25% of the federal aid to education goes to for-profits schools. they have 12% of the students, 25% of the federal aid, and more than double the student loan default rate in any other class of hire education. there are ways to cut back particularly as it is wasted as some of these tools that give us the opportunity for resources for real indication which can be a part of the future. now, we come to the most painful topic of all, entitlements. social security was included in the simpson-bowles report. i did not agree with all of it, but i thought it was a sensible
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approach to breathe life in social security beyond its current longevity. i was elected in 1982, came here in 1983, and i was told it was on it's way out. we rolled up our sleeves and we came up with a bipartisan solution with speaker o'neill and president reagan that ultimately brought 50 years of solvency for social security. what did we do? we raise the retirement age. we raised payroll taxes, and we indirectly taxed social security benefits. we bought more than 50 years of solvency. today, untouched, it will make every promised payment for 22 years. you cannot say that about much in washington, but social security can. it has not added one penny to the deficit. for those who say there is a good reason to push it off the table and we brought another day, i would add a note of caution. small changes made today in social security will play out
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over the long run it to buy solvency for a long time. i think we should take social security off the table for the current fiscal cliff but be very honest about what we're going to achieve in the near term. i think we should create the equivalent of the simpson- bowles commission for social security and give them eight months to a year to come up with a planned to buy us 75 years of solvency for social security. then bring it to the floor for a vote and allow any bipartisan group who can come up with a credible plan that meets the same goal to offer their own to be voted on in the senate and house. i might add a wrinkle here that senator mark warner came up with that i think is sensible. there should be a decennial process. every 10 years, but they should measure whether or not social security still has 75 years of solvency, if not what it takes
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to by the time. let's not get into this mess where we have six months ago. you know how important it is. their pension plans lost to bankruptcies. social security is important to us, our kids, and grandchildren. even though it's not part of a fiscal cliff discussion, we should create a commission that will report back to congress for a vote by the end of the next calendar year. now let's talk about the two toughest elements when it comes to entitlements, medicare and medicaid. medicare and medicaid in sure about one-third of all americans. it represents about 20% of our budget. it is a real challenge to us. one touchdown and amended, medicare is born to run out of money in 12 years. that's scary. we have so many americans, almost 15 million americans and
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the number is growing. yesterday in america, 10,000 people reached the age of 65. it happened again today. it's going to happen tomorrow. an it will happen every day for the next 18 years. these are people who paid in over a lifetime in the social security and medicare and fully expect the protection which they have invested in to be there. and it has to be there. so we need to take an honest look at medicare. i happen to believe the paul ryan approach was not the right approach to say the least. i thought that his idea of premium support, capping the amount that was put into it, would have raised the cost of medicare insurance on many seniors and i think it was unworkable and certainly didn't support it. some have suggested raising the medicare retirement age, elinlibility age, i should say. -- eligibility age, i should say. i have trouble with that. my trouble is this, in my family, i had an older brother who passed away a few years ago,
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when he retired he had health insurance from his employer out in california, and then he had a massive heart attack and surgery, and they canceled his insurance. my very conservative republican brother, who had no use for social programs, started counting the days until he was eligible for medicare. that was the only place he could turn. what was at stake for all of his savings he put together for his family. so when we talk, if anybody wants to talk, about a later eligibility age for medicare, what i want to hear is the assurance and guarantee that people like my brother will have access to affordable health care insurance during any interim period of time from retirement until they actually qualify for medicare. until i hear that, i'm skeptical. i want to see more before we go forward. let me also say when it comes to medicare that there's savings to be had there. savings that were brought up by the bowles-simpson commission, i won't go through them in ticks
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here, but savings that will not compromise the compare and benefits to beneficiaries but can lead to real efficiencies in the delivery of health care. a word about medicaid. medicaid is a special case as far as i'm concerned. i know when i mention social security and medicare, i know full well organizations in this town who are deeply committed to those programs and are very politically articulate. they are involved if not with money, certainly with votes. and members of congress pay close attention to them. medicaid is another story. medicaid as an illustration in the state of illinois means the following -- it is the only health insurance for one out of three children in illinois. secondly, it pays for more than half of the births in illinois. prenatal care as well as the well baby care. but that's not even half of the cost of medicaid in illinois. 60% of the cost in medicaid in illinois goes to take care of
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the elderly, the frail, and the disabled. many of them in institutional settings, plat busted broke. all they have -- flat busted broke. all they have social security, medicare, medicaid. so when the ryan budget suggests block granting medicaid back to the states and eventually cutting the money for medicaid by 37%, that's what he projected, 37%, my question to him and people on that side is, which group did i just mention to you do you want to reduce coverage by by 1/3? and what will the consequences be? i think progressives need to be especially sensitive to medicaid and what it means to us has for so many years and will in the future. let me say -- let me tell you what i think the good news is in this whole conversation. i think we are going to get this done. i'm more positive than most. i'll heartened by many of my senate republican colleagues who stepped forward and said that their real oath is to america and not to a washington lobbyist named grover norquist.
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that to me is a heartening sign and politically courageous on their part. many of them have already said this and i respect them so much for t i think as more do it will create a atmosphere and environment for us to reach an agreement. we need the same willingness to step forward on the left to be able to meet in this room at the table, wherever the room may be, and to come to an agreement that will lead us forward. i think that the one thing i'm hoping for is if we can reach an agreement at least in principle before the end of the year, and then implement it very soon thereafter, i really honestly believe this is what many have been waiting for to watch a more spirited and substantive economic recovery. think about this for a second. if we get this done, if we get the fiscal cliff done, if we have a credible $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, signed and sealed, signed by the president, what does that say to the rest of the world?
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while many other economies in europe and other places are struggling, ours will be the strongest currency in the world in terms of the future and economy we are preparing for. it takes a lot of hard work, but it's worth the effort. and all will prosper if our economy moves forward. saturday night my wife and i went to see a movie by steven spielberg by another gentleman who led illinois for a while named abraham lincoln. daniel day-lewis, who does a great job, was sitting across the table from a group of southern confederates and there was a talk about what was this war all about? seen all the carnage and death and division across america and at one point lincoln through daniel day-lewis said, it was about proving that democracy is not chaos. well, in those days the cost of that proof was 600,000 american lives. thank goodness we don't face anything like that, but we face the same challenge. democrats, republicans, and the
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president. i don't know if there was a mandate that came out of this election, but there certainly was a work order. it said get to work and do it together and get the job done. i think we can do it, and i hope that those of us on the left, on the progressive side, can make a positive contribution. glad to answer any questions. [applause] >> great. thank you so much, senator durbin, for those remarks. we do have time for a few questions. if i could ask for questions from the press first and then we'll see whether we have time for questions from the audience. gentleman over here. if you could state your name and affiliation. wait for the microphone. >> journalist from hungary, and i would like to know what you are involved in the negotiations in 2011, summer, and i was wondering why you think -- what lessons should have the president drawn from those
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negotiations. >> let me give credit to alan simpson and particularly erskine bowles, because they really orchestrated this well. we spent an exhausted year going through all the options and possibilities. and then they put a draft on the table. it's kind of nicely done. and erskine, al, each of us, all 18 of us, what do you think? i said i absolutely, positively cannot vote for that. there are six things here that are showstoppers as far as i'm concerned. when it gets to the amendment process and we sit down and go through this i'm going to fix those things or vote against it. writes down the six things and leaves. and goes to every office and does the same. the next thing that happened was we didn't have an amendment process. we had the final draft. and i looked at it and four or five of the six were taken care of. i thought, now, durbin, what are you going to do? i voted for it. it takes some leaders who were willing to sit down and make compromises and listen. in this case apparently the
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negotiations directly between the white house and speaker boehner, and rob neighbors in the white house, there is no better person for the president to assign to this job. i just think the world of him. i have known him for years and have the highest respect for him. i hope that speaker boehner will just agree to one basic principle and i think we can get this done. that the solution on the house side is going to be a bipartisan solution. it has to be bipartisan in the senate. but if this is going to be an exclusive, republican solution on the house side, i'm afraid we are going to reach the same impasse we have in the past. if he will make a commitment to a bipartisan solution in the house, i think we can get this done. >> questions from the press. gentleman over here. >> norm levy with the "los angeles times." you mentioned that medicaid is a special case. does that mean there are no savings from your point of view or there are and if so what would they be? >> i think there are savings. and it's a special case because
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of the political circumstances. the people served by medicaid are not politically powerful in this contry. they are the poorest of the poor, many infirm. they are not in a position to speak for themselves. that's what i meant. but there are ways to save. simpson-bowles goes through a list of possibilities. one of them is something that we have -- every state has tried, certainly illinois has, the so-called provider tax rebates. it's a nice move to come up with some more state funds to be matched by federal funds, but it's got to come to an end. that to me is a bit of a charade. i also think the dual eligibles, what that means is if people are eligible for both medicare and medicaid, that the reimbursement for services and pharmaceuticals and others will be at a medicaid level, which is a lower level of reimbursement. big issue for senator rockefeller over the years. i think there are ways to do this. i might also add the waiver process here can be helpful. we can learn some things.
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as we went through the affordable care act we talked about experimenting, let's figure out what works and what doesn't. the cook county hospital, known as stroger hospital, has checkered history to state least, but under our new president, cook county board, they asked for a waiver so that they could take the new medicaid population that's going to come onboard with the affordable care act, get to them early, establish preventive care and medical homes for these people. i think this is going to turn out to be a real money safer. as we start thinking about early interventions and coordinating care for a lot of people who are chronically ill and very expensive, if they aren't cared for under the medicaid program. >> thanks. >> "wall street journal," you also talked about investment, infrastructure, are you calling for a specific language in a potential deal that would be -- would involve these types of investments? >> here's what i'm thinking. if we are going to put any limitations on spending, which is likely, caps on spending and
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such, it's going to be room within those caps for us to build this economy. we just can't reach this point where we are cutting mindlessly cutting right and left. there are some things which really do create jobs and opportunity and growth in our economy. and the ones you mentioned, education, infrastructure, research those are the basics that i would try to find. i also what i suggested, too, going back to simpson-bowles, is finding a revenue source that will help us build a infrastructure bank. we have got to come at this differently. bringing up this highway bill, federal transportation bill, every five years and relying on a lrger and larger share of general revenue to fund it, has become a problem. it's better for us to find a self-funding mechanism that allows us to invest in even larger growth in the infrastructure. >> "the new york times." in your prepared remarks you mention the affordable care act and you say that you do not want
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it gutted or repealed. you didn't mention the a.c.a. in these remarks, where are you on reopening at all? is there any money to be had from other parts of the a.c.a. that would leave it largely intact but perhaps a little less well financed? >> i apologize to you and my speechwriter, molly, for not going through every page that she had written with my approval, but i, as we used to say in the law, fully incorporate by reference every word of it. here's what i think about the affordable care act. this election made the decision along with the supreme court that we are going forward as we should. i think it's the most important vote i ever cast in terms of long-term economic health and literal health of america. but what i have said before i'll say again, the only perfect law i know was carried down a mountain on stone tablets by senator moses, everyone else has done their very best to write a good law but realizes over time
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changes have to be made. we will find out ultimately whether the insurance exchanges reach the goals that we want to reach. will they create competition? and some price limitation as a result of it? or not? is the premium support we are offering to families making less than 400% of poverty going to be adequate for them to still buy the insurance from the exchanges? we will learn these things as we go along. one thing we know for sure is if the other party prevailed and we repealed obamacare, we would be in the soup. we would be back in the situation where we have absolutely no effort under way to try to contain the increase in cost for health care. and that to me is -- that would have been a serious mistake. i'm open to whatever elements we need to reconsider there, but i think we got the right starting point. >> senator has time for two more questions. up here. >> susie from "the washington post." do you anticipate that
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republicans will demand more deficit reduction on top of what they already are asking for in exchange for raising the debt limit, which were expected to hit even if treasury employs extraordinary measures? and is that already counted for in the $4 trillion ultimate grand bargain you are looking for? >> as i sat down in one of the last gang meetings, i said the first thing we have to come up with is a number. it appears the consensus number is $4 trillion. as i said based on some calculations we got a great down payment of $1.5 trillion in spending cuts already. the president's called for up to $1.6 trillion in revenue. and you can do the path and see the difference. there are some, tomko burn, i sat with -- tom coburn, i sat with for a long time. would he go to $9 trillion. he's got a big view where we need to go. we have talked in our gang about $5 trillion. i think honestly it's going to be closer to $4 trillion when it's all said and done. i also think that the president isn't going to sign off on any agreement that doesn't include
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some certainty as to budgets, appropriations, dealing with our debt ceiling, we are not going to find ourselves in some big party celebrating in february and then turn around in march and have another doomsday scenario with the debt ceiling. we've got to get this done as a package. i think we should. >> the final question right here on the aisle. >> carol with fox news. i was hoping you could weigh in -- i was sitting down. i was wondering if you could weigh in on the president's strategy later this week taking his message, views on the fiscal cliff directly to votes having a campaign-style event. also related to that together with the house republicans now saying they are going to go out and have their own small business events, a sign that direct talks have stalled. i know you said you're optimistic. >> i don't think they have stalled. i think there are -- we are playing ping-pong up here and
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rolling bowling balls under the table. different things, different levels of activity here. what i think is happening here, the real talks are under way between the speaker's staff and the president's staff to see what we can come to an agreement on. in the meantime, i think what the president's trying to dramatize what the polls already show us. that 60% of the voters, far more than voted for him, agree with the premise that the wealthy should pay more in taxes. that 70% believe that taxes should be part of this whole solution. now, i know we have heard it, we could give one another speeches at this time, what we'll hear from the other side on small business. we'll have an answer to that as well. the public debate will continue, but the real work that needs to be done will have to be done on a person to person basis between the speaker's office and the president. and i am honestly more optimistic than most. and in my belief that we can come up with the fundamentals of
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an agreement before the end of the year and avert this steep slope or physical -- fiscal cliff. >> as progressives we have no bert champion than senator durbin in the room and part of the gang. thanks so much for joining us. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated for a few moments while the senator departs. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] it [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> c-span.org we create add new webpage for you to look at the latest video on the fiscal cliff, including going back to the debate on the budget control act back last year, and also a stream of fiscal cliff postings on twitter. this one from scott who tweets that why are the president and congress ignoring the simpson-bowles plan?
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didn't they already figure out how to avoid the fiscal cliff? that's at c-span.org/fiscalcliff. also tweeting this afternoon, john tweeting that senator durbin is acting as democratic leader. idea that social security, medicare, aren't part of these talks is not sustainable politically or otherwise. also on capitol hill today, u.n. ambassador susan rice and acting c.i.a. director michael morell, met with members of congress to talk about the benghazi attacks. the attack on the ben ghazi consulate. following that meeting, senator lindsey graham, and ranking member john mccain spoke to reporters. u.n. ambassador rice is expected to meet with more individual lawmakers later this book. their briefing with reporters is about 10 minutes. >> we have had a very candid
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discussion about dr. rice and deputy director of the c.i.a. where significantly troubled by many of the answers we got and some we didn't get. evidence that it's overwhelming leading up to the attack on our consulate, the tragic death of the brave americans, and whether ambassador rice was informed sufficiently in order to give the american people a correct depiction of the events that took place. it is clear that the information that she gave the american people was incorrect. what she said it was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hate grouple of it is not. there was clearly evidence at the time that was certainly not the case. including statements by libyans
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as well as other americans. people don't bring mortars and rocket propelled grenades to spontaneous demonstrations. >> i'm more disturbed now than i was before that the 16 september explanation about how four americans died in benghazi, libya, by ambassador rice, does not do justice to the reality at the time and in hindsight clearly was completely wrong. here's the key, in real time t. disconnected in reality. in looking at the threats coming out of benghazi, libya, it was jump at you this was an al qaeda storm in the making. i'm very disappointed in our intelligence community. i think they felt in many -- failed in many ways, but with a
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little bit of inquiry and curiosity, i think it would be pretty clear that to explain this episode as related to a video that created a mob that turned into a riot was far afield. at the end of the day we are going to get to the bottom of this. we have to have a system we can trust. and if you don't know what happened, just say you don't know what happened. people can push you to give explanations and you can say, i don't want to give bad information. here's what i can tell you. the american people got bad information on 16 september. they got bad information from president obama days after. and the question is, should they have been giving the information at all? if you can do nothing but give bad information, isn't it better to give no information at all? my belief is, not only is the information bad, and i'm more
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convinced than ever that it was bad, it was unjustified to give the scenario as presented by ambassador rice and president obama three weeks before an election. >> i want to say that i'm more troubled today having met with the acting director of c.i.a. and ambassador rice because it's certainly clear from the beginning that we knew that those with ties to al qaeda were involved in the attack on the embassy, and clearly the impression that was given, the information given to the american people, was wrong. in fact ambassador rice said today absolutely it was wrong. i don't understand the c.i.a. said clearly that that information was wrong. and they knew by the 22nd that it was wrong.
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yet they have not cleared that up with the american people. to date in coming forward and saying they were wrong, including the president of the united states having parroted, also talked about the fact this is a reaction to a video, the attacks in benghazi, and what troubles me also is that obviously the changes made to the unclassified talking points were misleading. but just to be clear when you have a position where your ambassador to the united nations, you go well beyond unclassified talking points in your daily preparation and responsibilities for that job, and that's troubling to me as well. why she wouldn't have asked, i'm the person who don't know anything about this i'm going on every single show. but in addition the fact it's not just the talking points that were unclassified, but clearly as part of her responsibility as ambassador to the united nations she reviewed much more than
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that. >> before anybody can make an intelligent decision about promoting someone involved in benghazi, we need to do a lot more. to this date we don't have the f.b.i. interviews of the survivors conducted one or two days after the attack. we don't have the basic information about what was said of the night of the attack that's been shared with congress as of this date. so i remember the john bolton episode pretty well. our democratic friends felt like that john bolton, he didn't have the information needed to make an informed decision about ambassador bolton's qualifications, john the ambassador, and democrats dug in their heels and said we are not going to vote, we are not going to consider this nomination until we get basic answers to our concerns. all i can tell you that the concerns i have are greater today than they were before. and we are not even close to getting the basic answers.
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>> i have many more questions that need to be answered. >> it's likely that jay carny, the white house spokesman, will get questions on the benghazi attack and the meeting today with ambassador rice. you can follow that live. we'll have it for you on c-span.org at 12:30 eastern. on capitol hill today the house is returning from its thanksgiving recess. they'll be in briefly at 2:00 p.m. eastern. legislative business at 4:30 eastern. on their agenda this afternoon five bills, including a measure requiring the department of homeland security to report annually onboarder security and illegal immigrants. later this week members will consider a new visa program for foreign students earning advanced degrees in computer sciences, engineering, and math at u.s. colleges. and democrats hold their leadership elections this week. live house coverage this
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afternoon on c-span. on friday the u.s. announced that it was dropping out of the next month's middle east nuclear talks in helsinki, finland, a meeting which iran had agreed to attend. yesterday in washington the arms control association and national iranian american council, hosted a discussion on iran's nuclear program. this is 90 minutes. >> good morning. if i could ask everyone to take their seats. welcome to the arms control association and the national iranny american conference title, iran 2013, making diplomacy work. i'm the president of the national iranian american council, and welcome to all our viewers on c-span as well. it's been almost exactly four years since president obama so famously extended his hand of
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friendship in the hope the iranans would unclinch her their fists. yet today after a few rounds of diplomacy, plenty of more sanctions and centrifuge, there are plenty of clinched fists on both sides and very little talk about friendship. there's been timid attempts at diplomacy, but political constraints on both sides have been difficult to bend, and old habits have been difficult to break. obama's win over diplomacy in 2009 was quickly closed by the human rights abuses in iran following the fraudulent elections there. and as well as a growing pressure from congress as well as some u.s. allies in the region against diplomacy. focus shifted to sanctions, and to iran responded by further expanding its nuclear program, leaving both sides worse off today than they were a few years ago. in the meantime, sanctions have helped dissem mate the iranian middle class and further impoverished the population while human rights abuses
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continue to intensify and its nuclear program has continued to expand. but a new window for opportunity for diplomacy has opened. through obama's convincing re-election, and in the next few months up until the iranian new year both sides enjoy maximum political space and maneuveribility to negotiate effectively. the logic of diplomacy is obvious. it's the only option that can truly resolve this issue. sanctions can cripple iran's economy at the expense of this meeting pro-democracy movement there, but sanctions alone cannot resolve the issue. the military option can set back the program for a year or two, but only at the expense of ensuring that iran eventually gets the nuclear weapon. only diplomacy can provide a real and sustainable solution. this is no mistry to president obama. who at his november 14 press conference declared his dedication to diplomatic
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solution, i quote him, there should be a way in which they, the iranans, can enjoy peaceful nuclear power while still meeting their international obligations and providing clear assurances to the international community they are not pursuing a nuclear weapon. so, yes, will i try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue with -- between iran and not just the united states but the international community to see if we can get this thing resolved. end quote. diplomacy is the obvious option, but it's not obvious how diplomacy can succeed. today we have some of the foremost experts on this issue with us to help cast light on this question, and help find a way to make diplomacy succeed in 2013. and later after the panel discussion, we will hear from former national security advisor whose lucid analysis never fails to impress or enlighten. before i hand it over to the executive director of the arms control association, let me also thank our sponsors whose
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generous support for our work has made this conference possible. the ploushers fund and rockefeller brothers fund. darell, the floor is yours. >> thank you very much. and thank the national iranian american council for working with the arms control association on this event. i'm the executive director of a.c.a. it's a pleasure to be here. and as was said this issue has been lingering with us for some time, even before president obama came into office. the united states if, china, france, germany, russia, known as the p-5 plus one and the united kingdom have tried to negotiate with iran over its nuclear program. both sides have fumbled the fleeting opportunities to reduce the risk of a nuclear armed iran, and to prevent the risk of war, to reduce the risk of war over that nuclear program. since 2007, u.s. and western
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intelligence agencies have assessed that iran is nuclear capable. meaning that iran has a scientific, technical, and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so. and those intelligence agencies continue to this day to assess that iran has not yet made a decision to do so. the intelligence agencies and independent experts also believe that starting from today iran would require several months to aware enough fissile material for just one bomb and still more time to build a deliverible nuclear weapon. secretary of decommon sense panetta recently estimated it would take two to three years to do so. the latest report bhaced on its ongoing inspections of iran's nuclear facilities, particularly the fordo and natan facilities find iran continue to expand its
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enrichment capacity. it's enriching more uranium closer to the 90% for weapons grade, and iran continues to refuse to address the iaea's questions about the potential military dimensions of its nuclear program. it continues to resist tougher international inspections known as the iaea additional protocol. so we believe that there is time and clearly there is an interest from all parties to reach a diplomatic solution. and after several rounds of negotiations between the p-5 plus one group and iran, it looks as though there will be a new round of talks in the next month or perhaps early in 2011. it's also clear that the two sides have put forward specific concrete proposals, but those proposals have some different ideas, particularly about the
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sequencing of the steps necessary to assure the international community that iran's program is peaceful and to -- from the iranian perspective, start to roll back the very tough national and international sanctions that are in place. we have organized today a session just about a month after the u.s. presidential election to focus -- have a focused discussion on the options now for the p-5 plus one grup and iran in this next round of talks which could provide the best opportunity in a long time to resolve this long running impasse, to guard against a nuclear armed iran, potential military strike on iran's nuclear facilities, over its program or both. so we are very honored today to have three of the world's top experts on these issues.
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we have with us to our immediate left the former head of the united nations special commission on iraq, ambassador za kayas, here with us from sweden. we have dr. sadri, professor of sociology and anthropology and chair of islamic world studies at lake forest college, and dr. jim we'll shall, research institute -- massachusetts institute of technologies. we have asked each of them to take about five to seven minutes to provide their perspectives on three basic questions. with the new window of opportunity opened for diplomacy, what are the next steps that each side can and should take to resolve the proliferation concerns and reduce the risk of war? how might each side adjust their respective proposals to get to a win-win situation for both sides? and what are the best -- what's the best path for both parties to take to get there? could for instance, additional
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direct u.s.-iran talks help advance progress? we are going to hear from each of them for about five to seven minutes. afterwards we'll take questions from reporters first and then from our audience on the three by five cards in your folder. so as questions occur to you, you might jot those down and someone will take the cards and pass it forward in just a few minutes. with that introduction, welcome, everyone. ambassador, if you could start us off to give us your perspectives on those key kess for the next phase. >> thank you. i must say if you don't do much, we continue -- there is a high risk that the landscape would look the same. iran will continue, of course its enrichment, acquiring fuel, it may improve its capabilities to go up to 20%.
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israel and u.s. will build the case for military action, low level violence will continue against iran in various forms. and identify ran -- iran, can prepare an attack on the reactors considering potential success of the operation against the facility in syria. and this will all remove iran's constraints to acquire nuclear weapons. so we are either -- really concerned with the situation. let me add people of iran will continue to suffer under very tough sanctions. so there are two things which must change. diplomacy and the inspections. first diplomacy.
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five plus one has served the purpose of the it united front. five plus one mean to me united nations security council related global responsibility, europeans like to prefer three plus three which means the european union is the major player. i'm nervous about that, if you are europe you had better say three plus three otherwise you will not be served your dinner. five plus one, of course, it is important to keep on. i think u.s. should not do what it has done, hide inside this group. u.s. has now tried to take responsibility. to change, to start with its relations with iran. isn't it time now to sort of give up on the occupation of the
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u.s. embassy in connection with islamic revolution 1979? should the iranians try to forget the shooting down in the gulf of iranian airliner. we have i think americans who remember iran was not part of 9/11. it is very difficult to me what the problem would be with diplomatic reelses with iran. there was no problem for the u.s. to have roosevelt, truman relations with stalin, but stalin is something much worse. there is a sort of nervousness to be in touch with something, which is not totally wonderful. what i think is interesting now that u.s. and iran must recognize that serious common
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interests in the region, it is first where afghan has gone, 2014 the nato military presence will be terminated. something must replace that. there is a special situation, i must say, where u.s. and iran, a common interest that the taliban, al qaeda, will take over that country. i think that is very, very important possibility. iraq, the same thing. where is iraq going? i think it is high time that u.s. and iran start a dialogue on these two strategically important issues. totally neglected, i'm a little upset about that. of course what u.s. must swallow is talking about iran change in
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iran. it is up to the iranian people, reformists, the people who like to change the society. it's not the united states which should make a regime change. therefore i think to establish diplomatic it relations. why run a dialogue with iran via switzerland? wonderful diplomatic, wonderful people, still you have to have -- why not take -- have the courage to talk to the other guy and try to establish relations? do not send information through newspapers or brussels or other places. u.s. should establish its own direct dialogue. so that's the one thng. -- thifpblgt the in-- thing. the inspections, i think it is almost too simple to be true.
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should recognize iran's right to enrichment technology. but we should also start a gradual process of lifting the sanctions, economic and other. of course these shouldn't be for free. it must be an intrusive, permanent, monitoring system, including an early warning system inside iran's nuclear establishment. this -- i will talk later about how it should be done because -- this of course would also prevent break out program if evidence would immediately give to the international community, because a breakout program should meet with tough sanctions. so i think i stop here. i will come back to it. >> thank you very much. ambassador -- professor, you
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have been promoted. >> i accept the promotion. >> your perspectives on the next steps and the next round? >> what a wonderful basis to start with. indeed 34 years high yea tiss in iran-u.s. relations. assuming the last 10 years of nuclear negotiations provides a ground for pessimism, so people will say no time is a good time to start negotiating with iran. the perfect time will never come. and i think right now is the right time. right after the american elections, and right before the iranian elections start. remember back in 2008 we were in the same point in the cycle, except right now underground, the situation is much worse. it is more fissile material. there is more ill will. and there is less of an optimism. so i would say this is the
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perfect time to start the negotiations. in 2008 the obama administration didn't go for it. calculating, rationally, that probablyal settlement of the issue at the time would benefit president ahmadinejad and help him in his bid for a second round. well, we all know what happened. that election didn't work. there was unrest in the streets. and the turmoil completely consumed the rest of that year. so basically i think this is as good as any time to start the negotiations. what is stopping us from doing this? of course there is the sin ergey of inaction on -- synergy of inaction on both sides and invested political interests to generate a kind of in ground solidarity from the image of a demonized other.
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on the other side. but there is only one way to break this logjam and that is boldly. i think the two sides should come at this block of marble and see the statue inside the block, apply two things. apply pressure, force, but also perspective to bring out a new compromise out of this situation. there are risk and there are rewards in this. any politician who openly says i'm going to make peace with the other side and resolve this issue would be pillried for suggesting it and probably hanged if they didn't succeed. but there are also great rewards because we all know the politician to cut his 10-year-old knot will have a place in history. what is keeping the supreme leader of iran from coming forward? i had an occasion seven years
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ago, maybe i'll talk about it laettner question and answer, to -- that persuaded me that they have a paranoid mind about americans. to say he's really american wise and negotiators is to understand the problem. of course we all know just because you are paranoid that a crocodile might be hiding under your bed doesn't mean it's not there. in order to get an insight of how iranians are looking at this, there is a new book by the iranian chief negotiator that's on amazon, it's called "the iranian nuclear crisis, a memoir." it gives you a very good insight how iranians are looking at this. there is a scene in this book where he walks in and there is a new delegation and they are saying, well, let's start the
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negotiations. and why the negotiations are going on please don't enrich uranium. so he asks, well, how long you think it's going to go on? they say well about 10 years. american also suspect of running the clock, that is running the clock. when he goes and say this is what he said. hamini said i told you so. this is like there is this paranoia and distrust on this side. if there is no relationship, of course, these kinds of megive -- negative feelings, are reinforced. how do we break out of this? as the bam bass door as already said, it is very easy to imagine. it's kind of unbelievable that people have not resolved this. of course iran's innasht rights should be recognized under the articles of n.p.c. and also very
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good warning system and inspections should be established in iran to prevent iran from weaponizing. no-brainer. why isn't it working? it's because of the mistrust on beet sides. so there has -- on both sides. so there has been this confidence building measures. iran is easy to imagine what that would be. stop the enriching at 3.5 or 5% and put enrichment material under iaea, very direct and very good monetary systems. what can americans do to build confidence? i think that's a good question to ask as well. what can americans do? and the beauty of it is americans don't need to do anything. within these negotiations. in my view, the thing to do for
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the president of the united states is to re-- revive the discourse of nuclear disarmament. the clarion call from prague that he started his presidency with. it's bold, it is universal, it is very attractive, and i believe he got the nobel peace prize for proaching that issue. he may not have -- broaching that issue. he may not have earned it yet. this is a perfect opportunity for president obama to revive that discourse, and if he does of course i would venture to guess that the globe would be a better place to live and i think everybody would be safer if there are less nuclear weapons in the world, but just also curiously would act as a catalyst in this particular iran-united states relations, because if the nuclear powers in the world are not coming to nonnuclear powers and saying do as we say and not as we did, and
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continue to do, if the nuclear powers say we are going to take a step back and you don't develop, this puts a spine in the nonproliferation discourse and it will put logical legs on it. and it will be much more effective and i would venture to say that would be a good confidence building measure that will not be actually even confidence building within this particular framework. it would operate on a much larger level and would be the catalyst to bring iranians and americans in a one plus one setting, and i hope it happens. and hopefully help resolve this issue. >> jim, your perspectives on what the two sides can do? >> first i want to thank niac and the arms control association for putting together this
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terrific event allowing me to be on this panel with my distinguished colleagues. i don't know that i'm going to say something that's entirely different than what's been said. i'll try to make it spicy. i'll begin with context. it is deja vu all over again. we have been here before. where we thought that there would be opportunities to advance a resolution to 24 problem and one side or another, and believe me it's been both sides off and on over time, have failed to follow through. most recently was in the fall of 2009 when there looked like there might be a small deal around the 20% and iran just never came back to the table. they had their own internal political problems. so you can only have a negotiation if there are two sides to negotiate with, and they went away. similarly the u.s. some years ago and some time missed several opportunities. here we are and we have to ask ourselves the question, we've got a got opportunity now, but what do we have to do that's different?
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since we tried before and failed, what are we going to do that's different than last time? let me remind you we have had success. in 2003 there was abagreement that suspended iran's enrichment program for two years, people forget that. now success is possible. but you are not going to have success if you continue to simply repeat the things you did before but didn't work. i think we have to think about this differently. my sense -- i have read both an iranian proposal circulated in september around the time of president ahmadinejad's visit and i have spoken to u.s. policymakers about this. to echo the comments of my colleagues, there is a real lack of trust on both sides. there are those in the iranian government to think the u.s. is simply about regime change. and the evidence they see is they see scientists being assassinated. they see sabotage against the nuclear plants. they see covert operations. and the sanctions. and to all -- when you are sitting in tehran that looks a lot like pressure towards regime
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change if you are inclined to think that. in the u.s., there are people in the u.s. who think despite iran having stopped its program in 2003, that iran is determined to get the bomb no matter what. they believe it in their heart to be true. these talks are simply, again, a smokescreen. so it's hard to have a real negotiation when one side things the other side's determined to cheat, and the other side thinks they are trying to knock them out of office and depose them. so i think we have to grapple with this issue of is the other side serious or not? how do we demonstrate to the other side, i mean this for both sides, they are serious. as i understand the current set of proposals from both sides, both want to get a deal around the issue of 20% enrichment. i won't go into details about that. they want to play small ball, get something, and then push the can down the road. i think that's a mistake. i think that is a mistake. first of all you are shrinking the negotiation space.
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if all you are going to talk about is 20%, then you can't talk about other -- and you run into disagreements, there is no other sort of set of topics you can begin to trade against to expand and sort of get an agreement. >> can you elaborate on why the 20% is of interest? what is technically significant about it. >> let me say, four years ago there was no 20% issue. there was no 20%. this is -- what has now risen to the top of the agenda, ironically, is something that was originally started out as a confidence building measure. what happens? you enrich uranium 3% to 5%. you can't make a nuclear weapon with that. you need about -- 3% to 5% is what's used for power reactors. there are some reactors, research reactors that produce medical isotopes and other things that require 20% enriched uranium. when you enrich to 20%, yes, you are going towards 90, but are you not part of the way. you have gone a substantially
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far down the path towards 90%. the hard part is when you first start enriching. the more you enrich the easier is becomes. so 20% is what has the nonproliferation community freaked out. they don't like the fact that iran is enriching to 20%, and they certainly don't like the fact that iran is accumulating quantities of 20% that might be quickly enriched to 90%. interestingly, if you look at the last several iaea reports, let's say the last three, they are issued every three months, iran had started enriching at 20%, but has imposed self-restraint on it. they know that the west and others are freaked out about the 20%. and so they have produced some but the more they produce, they found other ways to deal with it so that the total level has not increased in way that would alarm the other side. the iranians are aware of this as well. when ahmadinejad was in -- of course he's not the person who calls the shots. he's on the outside if anything right now.
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at a minimum he's a lame duck. it's all about the supreme leader. he's still part of the government. when he was in new york in september, i asked him, i know are you a lame duck, didn't put it that way, we might get something done here? his response was, around 20%. issue. the iranians want to do something. and the americans and the people at plus one want something. but i'm afraid they are so narrowly focused they'll get caught up in their old mistakes and this won't be the sort of thing that overcomes the deep mistrust that both sides have. i don't think we can continue to kick the can down the road because there is a risk of war. there is a rick the israelis will strike. there is a risk of accidental war in the persian gulf between the navys. the longer we extend this, the greater the opportunity that someone's going to mess up and shots are going to be fired. as it relates to the specifics here going forward, i'm going as fast as i can to wrap up, i think there are issues of substance and process.
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process, we can't have one meeting every six months in front of television cameras and my apologies to you, c-span, and expect there is going to be a deal here. you look at yugoslavia, the negotiations on yugoslavia. any real negotiation, you got to meet all the time. every week. all the time. you have to meet behind closed doors. eventually the cameras get tired, they stop coming to the meetings, then you get something done. as a process matter, we can't have speeches that are for show. there has to be serious negotiation on a constant basis. contentwide, both sides present proposals where they are asking a lot and offering little. i have seen both sides. and this is classic. everyone does this. but in this particular circumstance in which either side trust one another, they take that proposal as evidence, the other side isn't serious. i think both sides need to change those proposals. the iranians are saying once we get rid of the 20% issue and we
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get a clean bill of 112th, we are -- health we are done, and that's not going to happen. we have sanctions and negotiations starting in 2003 and prior to that that had nothing to do with 20%. iran has to adopt the additional protocol, it has to follow through on its current safeguard arrangements and dough so in a way that's forward leaning rather than reluctant. that's not happening. the core issues aren't going to go away even if we solve 20% and the iranians need to recognize that. the m-5 plus one they have to get in the game. they are playing small ball. the things they are offering iran are limited. some of them are outdated. we have been at this so long offering spare parts for planes doesn't cut it. i'll stop there. ill he expand later. the process has to change. we have to get serious and meet constantly. and the content of the
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proposals. something has to be introduced that gives them space for an agreement and can demonstrate to the other side that despite the doubts in their heart, something can be done and progress can be made. >> thank you all for your rich comments. we'll drill down a little more do you n.o.w. with the help of questions from the audience. you might want to pass your questions off to the side. just to get going, let me just ask ambassador a little more about your personal experience and what you learned from the iraq experience and what that tells us about what could be done, what should be done, and what might not be done in the case of iran. what could we be doing here to give -- you talked about this a little bit. iran a face saving off ramp and to give -- to avoid creating artificial deadlines that trigger some sort of conflict? >> the iraq was special case, of
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course. but it was not an iaea inspection to start with. it was security council which established a subsidiary, and in addition to unscom it was iaea affiliated action team which was to focus especially on the nuclear dimension. especially on declared capabilities of iraq. iraq had been praised by iaea, of course you recall, it's a wonderful contributor to a perfect safeguard. it turned out that they had been cheated, very effective at cheating. so that's why one had to create another arrangement. but it was very -- done in that way that it contained very important element, human